Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The WireWorkers Guild

Hi! to this small seed-beady band of Wire Warriors!
It's been a slow, restarted emergence ... but I'm not deterred and will continue with the 'blog' even though I have had very little feedback or contribution to the newsletter items.
As a jewellery designer, I was asked why I didn't initially name the guild: The WireJewellery Guild (instead of WireWorkers) - but I felt that would compartmentalise and narrow the sharing of ideas - but seeing as I seem to be the lone voice on this blog, it will be more specialised in wirejewellery, as it is my area of expertise. However, the skills in creating jewellery encompass all wire crafts, ranging to home decor, accessories, sculpture, card making, etc... and I will be happy to share project ideas for past pieces I have designed, such as garden windchime, table-light decoration, napkin ring, tree sculpture, ... not to mention, wire motifs for just about every greetings card occasions! Infact, the dragonfly image seen here, can be wired to cards, hair accessories, turned into a brooch, a necklace pendant, a cake decoration, a plant stick, suspended on a window mobile ... need I go on! If anyone is interested in the instructions, just email me at linda.jones@wirejewellery.co.uk and I will be happy to supply them.
I have also been asked about how to go about
so here are some tips that I can pass on:
The first thing to acknowledge is that creating handmade jewellery is NEVER going to turn you into a millionaire! Sadly, most handicrafts are never that profitable, however, I can guarantee that it will be a very satisfying personal challenge, definitely frustrating at times, hard work but, fun and pleasurable when you do turn your passion into a little money ... and you never know, with sheer determination, it could one day turn into a small home business! but don't give up the day job just yet!
To test your 'market' why not book a table at a local craft fair, school fete or charity fundraising event and if you live in the country, try your local Farmer's Market... You should be able to find information on up-and-coming events in your local press and on-line. Alternatively, hosting a home sale jewellery 'party' is an excellent starting point.
1. Think of your target market ... this is dependent on where you are selling, i.e. school fete or home sale, etc... For instance, if you've taken a table at a school fete, remember to bring some cheaper items, as there will be families attending with their children wishing to spend their pocket money: therefore, items such as key-rings, 'phone charms, beaded hair accessories could be suitable, alongside the more expensive designer pieces.
2. DISPLAY: This is very important - as are all first visual impressions! Not only should you consider the table covering, but how you are going to set off your pieces to make them stand out. Uncluttered simplicity is key and if you are going to use table lights, remember to ask if there is an electricity point near to your table area. Also, don't forget to bring a mirror!
3. PACKAGING: Just as the display is visually representational of your work, the packaging should reflect the care and passion you put into your pieces. Organza draw-string bags, cardboard gift boxes and coloured tissue paper can add an air of elegance and detail to complete the sale. Also, do remember to have a sticker, flyer (computer print-out) or card with your contact details within the packaging, in case the customer wishes to return for more!
4. PRICING: This is always a tricky one, but you can roughly estimate a piece for sale should be priced around 3 times the cost of the raw materials. This incorporates your time, expertise, wear and tear of tools, heat & light costs, etc... and if you wish to add more profit onto that ... it's up to you! However, it is wise to mark and price all your pieces before a sale, as people are often wary of asking, in case the price is too high. So if they can see prices, they can instantly decide if it's in their spending budget.
5. CONTACT FEEDBACK: It is worth remembering to bring a pen and receipt book to your sale. This way you can keep a written copy of what has been sold. It's also worth making a note of the purchaser's email address, so that you can set up a client database for future sales events. If you're very new to selling, you could also have a 'Comment's Book' for people to (anonymously) comment on your work - constructive criticism is always helpful ... however, painful!
6. TOOLS: Bring some basic tools with you in case any piece needs altering. Round and flat nosed pliers can be useful for removing links to shorten a necklace. The fact that the purchaser can see you are able to customise a piece for them on the spot, could seal the sale! Ring sizers are also useful if you are selling rings and wish to take commissions. Obviously, major alterations and adjustments will have to be done at home and charged accordingly. Having a couple to tools visible can also impress the buyer, that in this age of mass production and commercialism your pieces are bespoke and you are a hand-craftsman.
7. MONEY: Bring a 'float' of coins and wear a money belt to keep your money safe and secure.
8. CARDS: Create some printed flyers (on your computer) or have a card printed ('Vistaprint' online is very reasonable) with your contact details and a picture of your work for people to take away. Even if you don't make any major sales, your contact details are a way of advertising.
9. HOME PARTIES: If you are thinking of organising a home jewellery party, all the points mentioned should be considered and to get you started, you can also speculate on having a 'hostess incentive'. For instance, the hostess holding the party could receive £10 credit and an additional 10% of gross sales as credit towards any jewellery purchases or commissions she wishes to make. This is just one method, however, you can choose a different 'payment' system that works for you.


  1. Hi Linda!
    I'm one of the seedy-beady band of Wire Warriors!
    If you have a Facebook fan page you can link your blog posts to it gaining more exposure that way. Also, maybe do a few mini interviews with your followers. That way we can get to know each other a bit and see each others work!

    I would love to do an interview with you for my blog as I have one of your books :D

  2. Hi Tracy

    I'm not on Facebook yet - but your advice is good and makes perfect sense ... I would be very happy to do an interview for your blog ... just tell me what to do: Fire me with questions! Infact www.beadsdirect.co.uk have interviewed me on their blog (take a look on their website).

    Looking forward to hearing from you - Linda

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